Sunday, November 30, 2008

Series of Mountain (3): Travel to Songshan

Songshan is a popular place for tourists to visit. Located in Dengfeng County of Henan Province, Songshan is called the Central Mountain of the Five Sacred Mountains. It has 36 peaks and stretches 60 kilometers, composed of Taishi Mountain and Shaoshi Mountain.

Songshan boasts a large number of showplaces and cultural relics. The most famous Shaolin Temple is located here, a must see place! Not only you can get to know about ancient Buddhist culture, but also Sholin Martial Arts (Kung Fu). Shaolin monks exercise Qigong, Qinggong and other Shaolin Kong-fu (martial arts) here.

There are some other temples in the mountain worthing a visit, such as the Zhongyue Temple, with history dating back to Qin Dynasty over 2,200 years ago, which is nicknamed “the Little Palace” and has about 400 constructions of various kinds including archways, pavilions, terraces, gates, halls, and towers, as well as many (over 300) tall, gnarled and weather-beaten cypresses; the Fawang Temple and the Huishan Temple, the oldest temples extant in China; two earliest and well-preserved astronomical observatories extant in China; etc.

Another famous cultural heritage is the Songyang Academy, one of the most famous ancient academies. Celebrities of ancient times like Sima Guang, Cheng Yi and Fan Zhongyan all gave lectures here. The building of the academy is old and elegant, but mostly broken. At the west side, there are two high and old cypresses named Great General and Second General, they are the oldest cypresses with over 4,000 years of history.

In addition, the forest resources of Songshan are praised as “rare treasure” for their large quantity, antiquity, abundant literary quotation and vivid shapes, some of which are rare ancient trees, such as the cypress we just said above.

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